Winning titles is something every football fans wants to live once in their lives and when that comes along with some of the best goals you’ll see in your entire existence, things get a lot better. Reaching finals is not an easy thing as well as playing good in those matches; however, we have witnessed some of the best single-game performances by footballers in this kind of clashes, even leaving their mark on the scoreboard.
There are some finals that are remembered more for a goal than for the final outcome of it, or the teams that participated in it. Today we are going to take a look at some of the best goals scored in tournaments’ definitions that left everyone speechless for the beauty of the definition, how it was developed or even because it was surprising and no one watched them come.
Here are the 10 best goals scored in finals.
Honorable Mention: Mario Kempes’ second goal vs. the Netherlands (1978 FIFA World Cup)
10. Ronaldo’s second goal vs. Germany (2002 FIFA World Cup)
17 years ago Brazilian striker Ronaldo Nazario and German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn were both at the of their game when they faced each other in the maximum stage of football, the FIFA World Cup final. Both players had an incredible tournament and we were set to see a clash of titans.
Ultimately, it was Ronaldo who stole the show and took the Brazilians to win their fifth World Cup trophy so far by scoring two goals. The second one was the most spectacular of them; when Germany was all over Brazil’s area, the South American counter-attacked and a pass by Kleberson went through Rivaldo’s leg before finding Ronaldo, who sent the ball to Kahn’s bottom corner.
9. Javier Zanetti vs. Lazio (1997/98 UEFA Cup)
Javier Zanetti had a very impressive career with Internazionale and he started to gain the love and respect from the Nerazzurri with performances like the one he had during the 1997/98 UEFA Cup in front of Italian rivals, Lazio.
What brings us here is his incredible goal that helped Inter to win that tournament. A pass to the area headed by Ivan Zamorano was viciously shot by Zanetti, who beat Lazio’s goalkeeper in one of the best goals the competition has seen.
8. Juan Roman Riquelme's first goal vs. Gremio (2007 Copa Libertadores second leg)
Juan Roman Riquelme was good wherever he went to play, but it’s no secret that his best times on the pitch were with Argentinean side Boca Juniors, where Riquelme won everything he could. The best season of the midfielder was in 2007, where he dominated an entire continent on his quest to win the Copa Libertadores.
He made sure to win the tournament that year and following a 3-0 win in the first leg of the final, Roman made sure to gift the club he loved a new title. Before the first third of the game, Boca started to pass the ball in the midfield until they passed it to Riquelme, who unleashed a shot that only him could have believed was going to be successful. It was indeed a good shot and Riquelme killed every hope of a comeback for his rivals with that freakish goal.
7. Carlos Alberto vs. Italy (1970 FIFA World Cup)
The 1970 Brazilian national team is considered by many as the best national squad football has seen and that’s not crazy, as this team was full of some of the best players in football history, including ‘O Rey’ Pelé. But that’s not what reunites us here, but one of Pelé’s teammates, Carlos Alberto and his terrific goal against Italy in the 1970 FIFA World cup final.
In a play full of dribbles, with great mobility of the ball and surgical passes, Carlos Alberto arrived in Italy’s rival to convert the fourth goal of Brazil and one of the best scores in the history of the competition, considered one of the two or three in the history of the competition.
6. Pelé’s first goal vs. Sweden (1958 FIFA World Cup)
We already talked about Pelé as one of Carlos Alberto’s teammates in the 1970 World Cup Brazilian squad, but now it’s time to talk about him as the main character of his own history. Back in 1958, Pelé was just a 17-year-old player who was getting recognized around the world thanks to his performances in Brazil.
Nevertheless, what he did during that tournament was something beyond incredible. Pelé shocked the world with his 17 years and made everybody know his name after the cup final, where he scored one of the best goals in football history, something unthinkable at that time. He lifted up the ball with his feet to escape from defenders before shooting a volley that left Swedish goalkeeper helpless.
5. Lionel Messi’s first goal vs. Athletic Club (2015 Copa del Rey)
Lio Messi has scored plenty of goals and more in finals; for instance, his goal against Manchester United in the 2010/11 Champions League finals is considered one of the best in the history of the competition, but this time we’re not going to talk about that one.
Yes, Messi can outgrade a goal like that and he actually did back in the 2015 Copa del Rey final in front of Athletic Club. Before the 20th minute of the game, Messi took the ball on the left flank of Athletic Club, started to run and surpass rivals like they were just cones, got into the area where he dribbled more players before shooting an unbeatable ball to give Barcelona a lead they’d never lose.
4. Juan Quintero vs. Boca Juniors (2018 Copa Libertadores second leg)
This is the most recent goal in this list since this happened just a couple of months ago, in Spain, where two of the biggest South American clubs and fiercest rivals clashed for the 2018 Copa Libertadores final second leg. River Plate and Boca Juniors were tying the game by 1-1, playing the overtime when Colombian attacking midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero surprised everybody with a huge goal.
A series of passes nearby Boca’s area landed on Quintero’s feet, who saw an opportunity to shoot the ball since nobody was trying to steal the ball from him. Juanfer shot and saw how the ball impacted the crossbar and entered Boca’s net, scoring the best goal in the competition that year and one of the best ones in the history of finals.
3. Mario Mandzukic vs. Real Madrid (2016/17 Champions League)
Mario Mandzukic’s goal against Real Madrid is different than any other from this list and that’s because Mario is the only one who scored a goal to remember but failed to win the title he was playing for. In 2017, Mandzukic and his team, Juventus, arrived in Cardiff to play the UCL final against Real Madrid expecting to get the most desired title in European football.
They still hoped to reach their goal even though Madrid scored the first goal. Well, Mario had an ace up his sleeve and after a series of aerial passes, Gonzalo Higuain served the ball for the Croatian striker, who controlled the ball with his chest before shooting a bicycle kick that made every Juve, and neutral fan, go crazy.
2. Gareth Bale’s first goal vs. Liverpool (2017/18 Champions League)
Real Madrid knows one or two things about good goals in Champions League finals and we’re about to see one of the most recent. Almost a year ago, Los Blancos landed in Ukraine to play the UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool, trying to get the third consecutive championship.
Things were close during a big part of the game after goals by Karim Benzema, helped by Loris Karius, and Sadio Mane. Everything pointed out that we were heading to overtime until Gareth Bale pulled out his magic and made a tie-breaker bicycle kick. Not even Bale couldn’t believe what he just did and almost a year after that, we can’t, either.
1. Zinedine Zidane vs. Bayer Leverkusen (2001/02 Champions League)
Again Real Madrid with the prime example of a beautiful goal scored in a final. This one took place 17 years ago, a couple of weeks before Ronaldo’s great game against Germany, when Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen landed in Glasgow to play the 2002 UCL final and give the fans a hell of a game.
Although that game was a really interesting one, most people remember it for the things Zinedine Zidane did in that match. Madrid and Leverkusen were tied and, after a pass that seemed unreachable, Zizou did his thing and unleashed a left-foot volley to beat Hans-Jorg Butt and gave Real Madrid his 9th Champions League trophy. That game is not only the best in finals but one of the best in the history of soccer; something we will never be able to forget.